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  1. A design-based project grounded in learning technology theories and systematically implemented can impact environmental education in many positive ways. This paper explores the systematic application of best practices from design-based projects that were used to combine and implement a drought education program. Embracing diffusion of innovation as its framework, augmented and virtual reality applications were used to design a virtual meeting space called the Virtual Citizen Science Expo. The results and findings show that users found Mozilla Hubs engaging as it gave them new ideas on the creative and inspirational use of virtual reality technology as an interactive and collaborative learning space. The discussions demonstrate that our VCSE can be used to promote and engage learners in science related to environmental monitoring. 
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  2. Citizen science holds the potential and capacity to change the role of science in the face of current and impending environmental sustainability challenges. However, the sustainability science community must also address the ethical challenges inherent in the nature and outcomes of citizen participation and inclusion. In this article, we provide a brief history of Participatory Action Research (PAR), long popular in the social sciences, and explain how participatory methods can inform the process and products of citizen science to meet the dueling ideals of ethically engaging communities and producing more robust science. Our decade of human-environment research on drought resilience and adaptation in the Southern High Plains of the United States illustrates how PAR complements formal science and can contribute to community resilience and adaptation efforts. Synthesized into 10 entry points for more ethical and participatory science, our semi-chronological narrative offers concrete strategies informed by PAR principles and values, at various stages of research, and highlights the place-based, ethical, and methodological contexts for applying each strategy. 
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  3. Zwart, R. ; Davidson, C. (Ed.)
    Citizen science projects have gained momentum in recent years and involved members of the public in ongoing scientific research. Nationally, there are an estimated 8,500 volunteers monitoring U.S. water bodies and 26 states sponsoring volunteer monitoring programs (Overdevest, Orr & Stepenuck, 2004). In Oklahoma, water quality data is collected by volunteers of Blue Thumb (BT), a state-wide program emphasizing stream protection through education and involvement of the community in monitoring local water-bodies. As the first phase of a multi-phase evaluation design, the goal of this research is to map the experiential education processes and learning outcomes of the BT program. A mixed methods research design guides this programmatic review of BT and the guiding questions for the study: (1) What attributes and processes of experiential learning are found in the Blue Thumb programs?, (2) What are the measured and intended participant learning outcomes?, and (3) How do Blue Thumb educators employ experiential pedagogies to achieve these learning outcomes? The study employed an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, with qualitative data being used to add contextual understanding to the quantitative data. 
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